Saturday, August 16, 2008

Surprise, Surprise: U.S. Supreme Court Favors Corporations During Last Term

Supreme Court’s decisions during the last term again revealed the court’s leanings toward general business interests. The court’s focus on punitive damages, the civil provisions of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), preemption of state law and arbitration were a familiar return to issues of interest to business and industry.

Here's the interesting thing.

The Supreme Court has limited punitive damages and RICO civil penalties . Without a corporate death penalty, punitive damages and RICO civil penalties are there only thing we have to stop corporations from doing really bad things. Here are some examples:

Union Carbide leaked 40 tons of toxic methyl isocyanate gas, leading to the Bhopal disaster. The death toll of the disaster was about 3,000 initially, with at least 20,000 additional deaths from related illnesses in the years following the disaster.

The Exxon Valdez spilled 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million liters) of crude oil and has been recorded as one of the largest spills in U.S. history and one of the largest ecological disasters in the world.

Or Enron's corporate abuse and accounting fraud that cheated working folks out of their retirement.

Finally, it's funny how "state sovereignty" is important except when states protect life over corporate profit. Then, the matter becomes federal preemtion and states must back off. While forced arbitration, especially in consumer cases, continues to undermine justice in America. See, National Arbitration Forum. Rent-A-Judge! How Arbitration Is Undermining Justice for Consumers

Ah well, justice is a fickle thing, isn't it?

Adam H. Charnes and James J. Hefferan Jr., 08/15/2008 Read Article:

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